AID organisations have been urged to re-strategise and focus on addressing persistent community fears, mistrust and insecurity as the Ebola outbreak continues unabated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The outbreak has leaped to over 2 000 cases. More than 1,300 people have died in what is now the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, behind the one that killed over 11 000 people in West Africa between 2011 and 2016.
Nicole Fassina, Ebola Virus Disease Coordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said the response effort has undoubtedly saved lives and helped prevent the spread of this disease beyond North Kivu and Ituri but more was needed to be done.
“We need to reset the response, and place communities at the centre of all of our efforts,” she said.
The number of Ebola cases has increased significantly in recent weeks to between 15-20 new cases per day.
This escalation is at least in part due to the precarious security situation in affected areas. Ebola responders also face resistance from communities but are also exposed to threats and attacks by armed groups.
Fassina said the humanitarian community need to invest more in locally-led response approaches.
“This outbreak will only end when communities are engaged and leading the response efforts themselves,” she said.